“If I see any more of _________’s chest (Okay, I may have said boobs) I’ll scream. When did hooch become prime-time appropriate?” Is what came out of my mouth.

However, I swear, that in my mind- it sounded a lot more like: “Modesty is a virtue that we value, even when others don’t. Please turn the channel.”

I don’t want to admit that in my twitter feed, I posted something even more obnoxious, but funny. Because- you know- funny makes the mean,  acceptable, right?

Maybe not. Unless you’re Simon Cowell. Which, at least at last check, I’m not. Although I do like black t-shirts. (Admittedly, Simon may be a sweetheart in real life- but his TV personna is known for his curtness and trademark-snark- so for the rest of this piece, I’ll knowingly be playing hypocrite by using him as an example of humorous-mean-ness. Which could be bullying. But I don’t think he minds. Hey- at least I’m honest.)

Anyway- I thought I was making a humorous point…..But later- I heard my child (10) refer to someone else as “looking like a hooch.” I didn’t have to ASK where he’d learned it-  I know where: from me.  Which  itself, is a parenting fail of epic proportions. (Way to teach your child to disrespect others, Tracey. You Go! Not.)

This morning the news is buzzing about a news anchor who confronts a bullying emailer who commented on her weight in a mean, critical, Simon-like way. A couple of weeks ago I heard about a girl who lives in my state who’d been elected to homecoming court as a prank– and has been a constant target of bullying.I immediately “liked” her facebook page and if it was’t creeper-like I’d have totally taken that kid out to lunch, because-

My heart goes out to them both. (It helps that the news anchor probably wears the same size as I.) I keep thinking: “What’s wrong with people? Why are people so mean? This bullying thing has got to stop.”

Yup. The very same heart that sits in my comfy spot on the couch, calling women hooches and tweeting about their cleavage like a 10th grade bully. The same momma heart that taught her son it’s okay to call women hooches- by doing it. Ouch. (more…)

Who wear glasses.

I remember my eye doctor saying just those words to my dad, while we sat in his dark office. (Creepy now that I think about it- but I digress.) No worries- the same day-  I threw up all over his expensive PUFF machine. (Hate that glaucoma test.) It was probably in retribution-  I’m like that.

Anyway-this was in the late 70’s. We’ll cut the dude some “he didn’t know better” slack. . Granted- this was the epic season of foster grants- and plastic frames with tinted lenses that make coke bottles look anorexic. (There were no- ultra thin lenses… remember? I am old.) Not a good look. Also? Way before vanity frames became popular. Looking “smart” was a euphemism for ugly. The words stung.

Granted- this was the epic season of foster grants- and plastic frames with tinted lenses that would make coke bottle bottoms look anorexic. Still. I hated it.

As well as the calls and whispered slams of “four eyes” and “dork” and all the other things kids say.

I went for years hiding my glasses and walking into things. (equally- dorky- but still.)

Eventually- sight trumped vanity. (And glasses got cool… I was hip- before hip meant anything but – your butt.)

I now have a choice— do I choose to look back and be bitter about the words?  Or, do I choose to live forward and be sensitive and encouraging to others?

I could look them all up on Facebook and rant about bullying… or sit smugly when I notice their receding hairlines and and bad bifocals- chanting “four eyes” at the screen. (Maybe I did…. just once or twice… ok?)

Instead , I’ve decided  choose to loo back and live forward.  I want to Love forward. So I do.

I have a personal goal- to compliment and connect with every child I see wearing glasses…….and give them what I would have wanted….

To be told I looked fabulous in my specs. To be complimented on the thing others ridiculed. Genuinely.

Like the little girl in purple sparkly frames at Target- Who’s face lit up when I told her I’d have LOVED to have a pair of those when I was a kid……

The one in pink frames at the mall. The girl I told said looked like a movie star- because she did.

The one in sparkly black ones at the books store. Who I told had the best smile to go with her glasses that I’ve ever seen…. (it was contagious. Just thinking about her makes me smile.)

Every single one. Every single time.

I can’t rewind the clock and school that eye-doctor- or change all the name calling I received… (And gave– Let’s just say- I did my share. I was a rather karmic kid….. what comes around- goes around… like a virus- sadly.)

But- I can change how it affects me.

I don’t have to over compensate by looking perfect. (I still struggle with trying to- but I know the truth- I don’t have to.)

I don’t have to retaliate by being snarky. (Although- if snark were a spiritual gift- I’d be the guru.)

I can live forward.

I can love forward.

I can forgive.

I can be forgiven.

I can reach out to the ones who don’t fit in. I can call out the beauty in those who feel ugly.

I can make a difference.

And so can you.

 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

What words from your past haunt you? How can you use them to live forward with love?

PS- for the record? The doctor was wrong. Boys (and men- ask my kids- they think it’s gross) DO make passes at girls who wear glasses…..#justsayin

Dear Lord- I pray that you’d redeem my past- every bit- the big things and the small ones. Please use it to help me love others better. please make my heart soft- not hardened my experiences. Help me to see ways to love- because you love me…. I love you lord- amen- ps- thnx for letting glasses come into style…and for inspiring better frame options.. I totally believe that’s you- amen. again!

“I’m thankful for my family, my neighborhood, my friends and I’m even thankful for -insert name of child bullying my boy here,- even if he’s being a bully right now.”  Noah S. 8 yrs old.

I wasn’t sure how to respond. My brain sifted through his words in an attempt to analyze,  Was he expressing some sick co-dependant relationship issues? Was he working the bully thing for attention, and loving it? No.. he’s doesn’t seem thankful for being bullied…. He’s had several meetings with the principal to confront and problem solve the issues and I’ve been driving him to and from school to minimize his contact with the bully in question. He doesn’t like it. But, I had to be sure…

“Are you saying you’re glad he’s been bullying you?”

“No, I’m just glad that God made him and that he was my friend. Maybe, he will be again.”

He’s hopeful that the child will give up his bullying ways, and will again, become a friend. He sees the good parts of the child in addition to the difficult. We talked about how sometimes people just don’t click.. kind of like legos and other building blocks.. that you don’t always fit together as friends…and that’s ok. (I didn’t want him to get his hopes up about being friends with the bully….) He remained hopeful and thankful.

At which point I realized:

I wish I were more like Noah.

My response to being bullied…or aggravated by someone else is NOT to be thankful for the person. It’s more likely to be defensive, and to insulate myself from them. I may even give others a “warning” about their bullying ways and complain to God about their mere existence…I wish they’d be banished from my life.

I’ve ever been thankful.

I want to be like Noah when I grow up. Probably cause he’s so much like Jesus….

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in Matthew 5:44 (NIV translation)

Dear Jesus.. during this thanksgiving time I pray that you’d stretch and grow my thankfulness.. let it include the things and people I struggle to be thankful for. And Lord- I pray that you’d bring peace and your love into this relationship that Noah’s struggling with.. I love you lord, amen.

*** Also- for those who may worry- Noah’s “bullying experience” is pretty minimal in the scope of bullying.. he and another boy are just not getting along…lots of teasing and picking at him but nothing out of the norm for boys.